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Full text of "The tall office building artistically considered"

7 

The April Number 



OF 



LIPPINCOTT'S 

MAGAZINE, 

READY MARCH 2 3, 

Will contain a Complete Novel entitled 

FLOTSAM, 



BY 



OWEN HALL, 

Author of "The Track of a Storm," etc. 

And the Usual Variety of Stories, Essays, 

Poems, etc. 

For List of Complete Novels contained in Former Numbers, see Next Page. 



THE COMPLETE NOVELS 

WHICH HAVE ALREADY APPEARED IN 



LIRRINCOTT'S MAGAZINE. 



AND WHICH ARE ALWAYS OBTAINABLE, ARE: 



No. 



339. A Whim and a Chance . . William T. Nichols 

338. Ground-Swells teannette il. Walworth 

337. Mrs. Crichton's Creditor . . Mrs. Alexander 
336. The Old Silver Trail . . . Mary B. Btickney 
335. In Sight of the Goddess. Harriet Riddle Davis 
334. My Strange Patient . . . William T. Nichols 

333. A Case in Equity Francis Lyude 

332. Little Lady Lee . . . Mrs. II. iJbvett Cameron 
331. A Social Highwayman. Elisabeth Phipps Train 
330. The Battle of Salamanca. Beuito Peres Gald&s 
329. The Lady of Las Cruces . . . Christian Keid 
328. Alain of Halfdene . . . Anna Robeson Brown 
327. A Tame Surrender . . . Captain Charles King 
326. The Chapel of Ease . . Harriet Riddle Davis 
325. The Waifs of Fighting Hocks. 

not tut-,, tt n , „ Charles Mcllvaine 

324. Mrs. Hallam's Companion. 

Mrs. Mary J. Holmes 

323. Dora's Defiance Lady Lindsay 

322. A Question of Courage . . . Francis Lynde 

321. Captain Molly Mary A. Denison 

320. Sweetheart Manette . . . Maurice Thompson 

319. Captain Close Captain Charles King 

318. The Wonder- Witch . . . . M. G. McClelland 
317. A Professional Beauty. Elizabeth Phipps Train 
316. The Plying Halcyon . . Richard Henry Savage 

316. A Desert Claim Mary E. 8tickney 

314. The Picture of Las Cruces . . Christian Reid 

313. The Colonel Harry W.ll.ird French 

312. Sergeant Croesus .... Captain Charles King 
311. An Unsatisfactory Lover . . .TIieDaphis- 
310. The Hepburn Line . . . Mrs. Man- J. Holmes 
309. A Bachelor's Bridal. . . . H. Lovett Cameron 
308. In the Midst of Alarms .... Kuben Ban- 
307. The Troublesome Lady . Patience Stapleton 
306. The Translation of a Savage. Gilbert Parker 

305. Mrs. Romney Rosa EToueliette Carey 

304. Columbus in Love . . George Alfred Townsend 
303. Waring's Peril . . . Capt. Charles King, P.8.A 

302. The First Flight Julien Gordon 

A Pacific Encounter . . . Mary E. SticUney 
Pearce Amerson's Will. 

Richard Malcolm Johnston 

More than Kin Marion Hariand 

The Kiss Of Gold Kate Jordan | 

The Doomswoman Gertrude Atherton 

296. The Martlet Seal. . . . Jeannette H.Walworth 

295. White Heron M . G. McClelland 

294. John Gray (A Kentucky Tale of the Olden Time). 

.l.iin. s Lane Allen 
293. The Golden Fleece .... Julian Hawthorne 
292. But Men Must Work . Rosa Nouchette Carey 
291. A Soldier's Secret . Capt. Charles King, 

290. Roy the Royalist William Westall 

289. The Passing of Major Kilgore. 

Young E. Allison 
288. A Fair Blockade-Breaker . . T. C. DeLeon 
287. The Duke and the Commoner. 

Mrs. Poultney Bijrelow 

286. Lady Patty The Duchess 

285. Cariotta's Intended . . Ruth McEnery Stuart 



301. 
300. 

299. 
298. 
297. 



278. 
277. 
276. 
276. 
274. 



270. 
269. 
268. 
267. 
266. 
265. 



Ho. 

284. A Daughter's Heart . Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron 
283. A Rose of a Hundred Leaves. Amelia E, Ban 
282. Gold of Pleasure . . . Geoi Lathrop 

281. Vampires Julien Gordon 

280. Maiden's Choosing. . . Mrs. Ellen Olney Kirk 
B. The Sound of a Voice . . Frederick S.Cowsens 

A Wave of Life Clyde Fitch 

The Light that Failed . . Rudyard Kipling 
An Army Portia . Capt. Charles King, U.S.A. 
A Laggard in Love . Jeauie Gwynne Bettany 

A Marriage at Sea W. Clank Russell 

273. The Mark of the Beast. 

Katharine Pearson Woods 
272. What Gold Cannot Buy . . Mrs. Alexander 
271. The Picture of Dorian Gray . . Oscar Wilde 
Circumstantial Evidence . Mary E. Stickney 
A Sappho of Green Springs . . . Bret Harte 

A Cast for Fortune Christian Reid 

Two Soldiers .... Capt Charles King, U.S.A 
The Sign of the Four .... a Conan Doyle 
Mllhcent and Rosalind . . Julian Hawthorne 

9« t ^^ Kn6W JO '"' Ha '' 1 * rt - 

^bj. A Belated Revenge. Dr. Robt. Montgomery Bird 

262. Creole and Puritan T. C. De Leon 

2C1. Solarion Edgar Fawcett 

260. An Invention of the Enemy. W.H Babcock 
259. Ten Minutes to Twelve . M. G. McClelland 
258. A Dream of Conquest . . General Lh.vd Brice 
257. A Chain of Errors .... Mrs. E. W. Latimer 
256. The Witness of the Sun . . . Amelie Rives 

255. Bella-Demonia S elina Doltiro 

254. A Transaction in Hearts . . . . Edgar Saltus 

253. Hale-Weston M . B1 „ ot geawe „ 

251. Earthlings Grace King 

250. Queen of Spades, and Autobiography. E. P. Koe 
249. Herod and Mariamne. 

A Tr «gedy Am61ie Riveg 

248. Mammon Maude Howe 

247. The Yellow Snake Wm. Henry Bishop 

246. Beautiful Mrs. Thorndyke. 

Mrs. Poultney Bigelow 

245. The Old Adam H. H. Bovesen 

244. The Quick or the Dead P . . . Amelie Rives 
243. Honored in the Breach . . . Julia Magruder 
242. The Spell of Home. 

After the German of E. Werner. Mrs. A. L. Wister 
241. Check and Counter-Check. 

Brander Matthews and George H. Jessop 
239. The Terra-Cotta Bust . . Virginia W. Johnson 
238. Apple Seed and Brier Thorn. Louise Stockton 
237. The Red Mountain Mines. Lew Vauderpoole 

236. A Land of Love Sidney Luska 

235. At Anchor J u i ia Magruder 

234. The Whistling Buoy .... Charles Baruard 

232. Douglas Dnane Edgar Fawcett 

231. Kenyon's Wife Lucy C. Lillie 

230. A Self-Made Man M. G. McClelland 

229. Sinflre Julian Hawthorne 

228. Miss Defarge .... Frances Hodgson Burnett 
227. Brueton'a Bayou John Habberton 



SINGLE NUMBERS, 25 CENTS. 

b 



$3.00 PER YEAR. 



THIS NUMBER CONTAINS 

A WHIM AND A CHANCE 

By WILLIAM T. NICHOLS, 

AUTHOR OR " MY STRANGE PATIENT," ETC. 



COMPLiBTB 




MONTHLY MAGAZINE 

CONTENTS 

A WHIM AND A CHANCE . . . William T.Nichols . 289-378 



The Horse or the Motor Oliver McKee 

Mis' Pettigrew's Silver Tea-Set Judith Spencer . , 

The Pilgrims (Poem) Clinton Scollard . 

Household Life in Another Century .... Emily Baily Stone 

Henry Mary Stewart Cutting . 

Richard Wagner (Quatrain) Richard Burton . 

The Tall Office Building Artistically Considered . Louis H. Sullivan 

The Evolution of the Wedding-Cake . . . Agnes Carr Sage . 

About Widows Frances Courtenay Baylor 

Alas ! (Couplet) Carrie Blake Morgan . 

A Labor Leader Clare E. Robie . 

A Little Essay on Love Jean Wright 

The Decadent Novel Edward Fuller . 



379 
384 
389 
39° 
395 
402 

403 

409 
412 
414 

415 
422 

427 



PRICE TWENTY-FIVE CENTS 

PUBLISHED BY 

J:B:LIPPINCOTT:C2: PHILADELPHIA: 

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PARIS: BRENTANO'S, 87 AVENUE BE I/OPERA 
Copyright, 1896, by J. B. Lippincott Company. Entered at Philadelphia Post-Office as second-class matter. 



402 RICHARD WAGNER. 

made the minister stay to supper, but he didn't look quite easy, 
and left right afterwards. Aunt Martha said she thought he had a 
toothache. 

And we danced — oh, how we danced ! Josh and I were partners 
all the time, and the way that cornet played, with the concertina chiming 
in ! All who couldn't dance beat time with their feet. 

It was nearly four o'clock in the morning before every one left, and 
Josh and I walked down to take the milk-train for Jersey City. My 
blue duck suit was all covered with rice, and an old shoe had knocked 
Josh's hat off, so that 'twas a little dusty, but he didn't mind. Josh 
carried our two valises, and my feet felt as light as a feather, they were 
so in tune with the dancing, and the day was just dawning over the 
salt meadows, all fresh and sweet, and the birds were beginning to 
sing. 

I was so happy, without trying to think why, that I could hardly 
keep from little bubbles of laughter, and Josh looked at me, and said 
I matched the morning. 

" But why are we going to Jersey City ?" said he, stopping sud- 
denly, and letting the valises rest on the ground. 

" Why," said I, " so we can go and see the Falls, and your — no, 
Henry's married sister, at Paterson." 

" What /" says he, as mad as thunder, and then he burst into a roar 
of laughter. " If that ain't the best I ever heard ! Annie Louise, we 
ain't runuing on Henry's plan now. We'll keep on over the ferry, 
sweety, to New York. I've a week's vacation, and lots of money in 
my pocket, and my girl shall have a bang-up wedding trip. We'll go 
straight on to a real falls, and that's Niagary." 

The milk-train was rumbling in before we reached the station, and 
we got aboard just in time. But while we still stood on the platform 
of the car, and it was moving off, two figures came running up, too 
late to get on. 

It was Henry, and Mrs. Hunter ! They stopped short and looked 
at us, and Josh he put one arm around my waist, and pointed with his 
other hand to Henry, — such a gesture, as if he were the meanest thing 
on earth, — and he called him a name, the sassiest I ever heard. 

Henrv slunk all together, the way he used to when he had a cramp, 
and then in a second he was lost to sight. It was the last I ever saw 
of Henry, or ever want to. 

Mary Stewart Catting. 



RICHARD WAGNER. 



OLD deeds, old creeds, for centuries dead, rise out 
The grave and swarm beside the storied Rhine : 
The thunders of the heaven are girt about 
With silver zones of melody divine. 

Richard Burton. 



THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 403 



THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY 
CONSIDERED. 



THE architects of this land aud generation are now brought face to 
face with something new under the sun, — namely, that evolution 
and integration of social conditions, that special grouping of them, that 
results in a demand for the erection of tall office buildings. 

It is not my purpose to discuss the social conditions ; I accept them 
as the fact, and say at once that the design of the tall office building 
must be recognized and confronted at the outset as a problem to be 
solved, — a vital problem, pressing for a true solution. 

Let us state the conditions in the plainest manner. Briefly, they 
are these : offices are necessary for the transaction of business ; the 
invention and perfection of the high-speed elevator make vertical 
travel, that was once tedious and painful, now easy and comfortable ; 
development of steel manufactures has shown the way to safe, rigid, 
economical constructions rising to a great height; continued growth 
of population in the great cities, consequent congestion of centres and 
rise in value of ground, stimulate an increase in number of stories; 
these, successfully piled one upon another, react on ground values ; — and 
so on, by action and reaction, interaction and inter-reaction. Thus has 
come about that form of lofty construction called the " modern office 
building." It has come in answer to a call, for in it a new grouping 
of social conditions has found a habitation and a name. 

Up to this point all in evidence is materialistic, an exhibition of 
force, of resolution, of brains in the keen sharp sense of the word. It 
is the joint product of the speculator, the engineer, the builder. 

Problem : How shall we impart to this sterile pile, this crude, harsh, 
brutal agglomeration, this stark, staring exclamation of eternal strife, 
the graciousness of those higher forms of sensibility and culture that 
rest on the lower and fiercer passions ? How shall we proclaim from 
the dizzy height of this strange, weird, modern housetop the peaceful 
evangel of sentiment, of beauty, the cult of a higher life? 

This is the problem ; and we must seek the solution of it in a 
process analogous to its own evolution, — indeed, a continuation of it, — 
namely, by proceeding step by step from general to special aspects, 
from coarser to finer considerations. 

It is my belief that it is of the very essence of every problem that 
it contains and suggests its own solution. This I believe to be natural 
law. Let us examine, then, carefully the elements, let us search out 
this contained suggestion, this essence of the problem. 

The practical conditions are, broadly speaking, these : 

Wanted — 1st, a story below-ground, containing boilers, engines, of 
various sorts, etc., — in short, the plant for power, heating, lighting, etc. 
2d, a ground-floor, so called, devoted to stores, banks, or other estab- 
lishments requiring large area, ample spacing, ample light, and great 



404 THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 

freedom of access. 3d, a second story readily accessible by stairways, — 
this space usually in large subdivisions, with corresponding liberality 
in structural spacing and in expanse of glass and breadth of external 
openings. 4th, above this an indefinite number of stories of offices 
piled tier upon tier, one tier just like another tier, one office just like 
all the other offices, — an office being similar to a cell in a houey-comb, 
merely a compartment, nothing more. 5th and last, at the top of this 
pile is placed a space or a story that, as related to the life and useful- 
ness of the structure, is purely physiological in its nature, — namely, 
the attic. In this the circulatory system completes itself and makes 
its grand turn, ascending and descending. The space is filled with 
tanks, pipes, valves, sheaves, and mechanical etcetera that supplement 
and complement the force-originating plant hidden below-ground in 
the cellar. Finally, or at the beginning rather, there must be on the 
ground-floor a main aperture or entrance common to all the occupants 
or patrons of the building. 

This tabulation is, in the main, characteristic of every tall office 
building in the country. As to the necessary arrangements for light 
courts, these are not germane to the problem, and, as will become soon 
evident, I trust, need not be considered here. These things, and such 
others as the arrangement of elevators, for example, have to do strictly 
with the economics of the building, and I assume them to have been 
fully considered and disposed of to the satisfaction of purely utilitarian 
and pecuniary demands. Only in rare instances does the plan or floor 
arrangement of the tall office building take on an aesthetic value, and 
this usually when the lighting court is external or becomes an internal 
feature of great importance. 

As I am here seeking not for an individual or special solution, but 
for a true normal type, the attention must be confined to those condi- 
tions that, in the main, are constant in all tall office buildings, and 
every mere incidental and accidental variation eliminated from the 
consideration, as harmful to the clearness of the main inquiry. 

The practical horizontal and vertical division or office unit is nat- 
urally based on a room of comfortable area and height, and the size 
. of this standard office room as naturally predetermines the standard 
structural unit, and, approximately, the size of window-openings. In 
turn, these purely arbitrary units of structure form in an equally 
natural way the true basis of the artistic development of the exterior. 
Of course the structural spacings and openings in the first or mercan- 
tile storv are required to be the largest of all ; those in the second or 
quasi-mercantile story are of a somewhat similar nature. The spacings 
and openings in the attic are of no importance whatsoever (the win- 
dows have no actual value), for light may be taken from the top, 
and no recognition of a cellular division is necessary in the structural 
spacing. 

Hence it follows inevitably, and in the simplest possible way, that 
if we follow our natural instincts without thought of books, rules, pre- 
cedents, or any such educational impedimenta to a spontaneous and 
"sensible" result, we will in the following manner design the exterior 
of our tall office building, — to wit : 



THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 405 

Beginning with the first story, we give this a main entrance that 
attracts the eye to its location, and the remainder of the story we treat 
in a more or less liberal, expansive, sumptuous way, — a way based 
exactly on the practical necessities, but expressed with a sentiment of 
largeness and freedom. The second story we treat in a similar way, 
but usually with milder pretension. Above this, throughout the in- 
definite number of typical office-tiers, we take our cue from the indi- 
vidual cell, which requires a window with its separating pier, its sill 
and lintel, and we, without more ado, make them look all alike because 
they are all alike. This brings us to the attic, which, having no 
division into office-cells, and no special requirement for lighting, gives 
us the power to show by means of its broad expanse of wall, and its 
dominating weight and character, that which is the fact, — namely, that 
the series of office-tiers has come definitely to an end. 

This may perhaps seem a bald result and a heartless, pessimistic 
way of stating it, but even so we certainly have advanced a most 
characteristic stage beyond the imagined sinister building of the specu- 
lator-engineer-builder combination. For the hand of the architect is 
now definitely felt in the decisive position at once taken, and the sug- 
gestion of a thoroughly sound, logical, coherent expression of the con- 
ditions is becoming apparent. 

When I say the hand of the architect, I do not mean necessarily 
the accomplished and trained architect. I mean only a man with a 
strong natural liking for buildings, and a disposition to shape them in 
what seems to his unaffected nature a direct and simple way. He will 
probably tread an innocent path from his problem to its solution, and 
therein he will show an enviable gift of logic. If he have some gift 
for form in detail, some feeling for form purely and simply as form, 
some love for that, his result, in addition to its simple straightforward 
naturalness and completeness in general statement, will have some- 
thing of the charm of sentiment. 

However, thus far the results are only partial and tentative at 
best ; relatively true, they are but superficial. We are doubtless right 
in our instinct, but we must seek a fuller justification, a finer sanction, 
for it. 

II. 

I assume now that in the study of our problem we have passed 
through the various stages of inquiry, as follows : 1st, the social basis 
of the demand for tall office buildings ; 2d, its literal material satis- 
faction ; 3d, elevation of the question from considerations of literal 
planning, construction, and equipment, to the plane of elementary 
architecture as a direct outgrowth of sound, sensible building; 4th, 
the question again elevated from an elementary architecture to the 
beginnings of true architectural expression, through the addition of a 
certain quality and quantity of sentiment. 

But our building may have all these in a considerable degree 
and yet be far from that adequate solution of the problem I am at- 
tempting to define. We must now heed the imperative voice of emo- 
tion. 



406 THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 

It demands of us, What is the chief characteristic of the tall office 
building? And at once we answer, it is lofty. This loftiness is to 
the artist-nature its thrilling aspect. It is the very open organ-tone in 
its appeal. It must be in turn the dominant chord in his expression 
of it, the true excitant of his imagination. It must be tall, every 
inch of it tall. The force and power of altitude must be in it, the 
glory and pride of exaltation must be in it. It must be every inch a 
proud and soaring thing, rising in sheer exultation that from bottom 
to top it is a unit without a single dissenting line, — that it is the new, 
the unexpected, the eloquent peroration of most bald, most sinister, 
most forbidding conditions. 

The man who designs in this spirit and with this sense of respon- 
sibility to the generation he lives in must be no coward, no denier, no 
bookworm, no dilettante. He must live of his life and for his life in 
the fullest, most consummate sense. He must realize at once and with 
the grasp of inspiration that the problem of the tall office building is 
one of the most stupendous, one of the most magnificent opportunities 
that the Lord of Nature in His beneficence has ever offered to the 
proud spirit of man. 

That this has not been perceived — indeed, has been flatly denied — 
is an exhibition of human perversity that must give us pause. 



III. 

One more consideration. Let us now lift this question into the 
region of calm, philosophic observation. Let us seek a comprehensive, 
a final solution : let the problem indeed dissolve. 

Certain critics, and very thoughtful ones, have advanced the theory 
that the true prototype of the tall office building is the classical column, 
consisting of base, shaft, and capital, — the moulded base of the column 
typical of the lower stories of our building, the plain or fluted shaft 
suggesting the monotonous uninterrupted series of office-tiers, and the 
capital the completing power and luxuriance of the attic. 

Other theorizers, assuming a mystical symbolism as a guide, quote 
the many trinities in nature and in art, and the beauty and conclusive- 
ness of such trinity in unity. They aver the beauty of prime numbers, 
the mysticism of the number three, the beauty of all things that are 
in three parts, — to wit, the day, subdividing into morning, noon, and 
night; the limbs, the thorax, and the head, constituting the body. So, 
they say, should the building be in three parts vertically, substantially 
as before, but for different motives. 

Others, of purely intellectual temperament, hold that such a de- 
sign should be in the nature of a logical statement ; it should have 
a beginning, a middle, and an ending, each clearly defined, — therefore 
again a building, as above, in three parts vertically. 

Others, seeking their examples and justification in the vegetable 
kingdom, urge that such a design shall above all things be organic. 
They quote the suitable flower with its bunch of leaves at the earth, 
its long graceful stem, carrying the gorgeous single flower. They 
point to the pine-tree, — its massy roots, its lithe, uninterrupted trunk, 



THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 4Q7 

its tuft of green high iu the air. Thus, they say, should be tiie design 
of the tall office building: again in three parts vertically. 

Others still, more susceptible to the power of a unit than to the 
grace of a trinity, say that such a design should be struck out at a 
blow, as though by a blacksmith or by mighty Jove, or should be 
thought-born, as was Minerva, full-grown. They accept the notion of 
a triple division as permissible and welcome, but non-essential. With 
them it is a subdivision of their unit : the unit does not come from 
the alliance of the three ; they accept it without murmur, provided the 
subdivision does not disturb the sense of singleness and repose. 

All of these critics aud theorists agree, however, positively, un- 
equivocally, in this, that the tall office building should not, must not, 
be made a field for the display of architectural knowledge in the en- 
cyclopaedic sense ; that too much learning in this instance is fully as 
dangerous, as obnoxious, as too little learning ; that miscellany is ab- 
horrent to their sense; that the sixteen-story building must not consist 
of sixteen separate, distinct, and unrelated buildings piled one upon 
the other until the top of the pile is reached. 

To this latter folly I would not refer were it not the fact that nine 
out of every ten tall office buildings are designed in precisely this way 
in effect, not by the ignorant, but by the educated. It would seem, 
indeed, as though the " trained" architect, when facing this problem, 
were beset at every story, or, at most, every third or fourth story, by 
the hysterical dread lest he be in " bad form ;" lest he be not bedeck- 
ing his building with sufficiency of quotation from this, that, or the 
other " correct" building in some other land and some other time ; 
lest he be not copious enough in his display of wares ; lest he betray, 
in short, a lack of resource. To loosen up the touch of this cramped 
and fidgety hand, to allow the nerves to calm, the brain to cool, to re- 
flect equably, to reason naturally, seems beyond him ; he lives, as it 
were, in a waking nightmare filled with the disjecta membra of archi- 
tecture. The spectacle is not inspiriting. 

As to the former and serious views held by discerning and thought- 
ful critics, I shall, with however much of regret, dissent from them 
for the purposes of this demonstration, for I regard them as secondary 
only, non-essential, and as touching not at all upon the vital spot, upon 
the quick of the entire matter, upon the true, the immovable philosophy 
of the architectural art. 

This view let me now state, for it brings to the solution of the 
problem a final, comprehensive formula : 

All things in nature have a shape, that is to say, a form, an out- 
ward semblance, that tells us what they are, that distinguishes them 
from ourselves and from each other. 

Unfailingly in nature these shapes express the inner life, the native 
quality, of the animal, tree, bird, fish, that they present to us; they 
are so characteristic, so recognizable, that we say, simply, it is " natu- 
ral" it should be so. Yet the moment we peer beneath this surface 
of things, the moment we look through the tranquil reflection of our- 
selves and the clouds above us, down into the clear, fluent, unfathom- 
able depths of nature, how startling is the silence of it, how amazing 



408 THE TALL OFFICE BUILDING ARTISTICALLY CONSIDERED. 

the flow of life, how absorbing the mystery ! Unceasingly the essence 
of things is taking shape in the matter of things, and this unspeakable 
process we call birth and growth. Awhile the spirit and the matter 
fade away together, and it is this that we call decadence, death. These 
two happenings seem joined and interdependent, blended into one like 
a bubble and its iridescence, and they seem borne along upon a slowly 
moving air. This air is wonderful past all understanding. 

Yet to the steadfast eye of one standing upon the shore of things, 
looking chiefly and most lovingly upon that side on which the sun 
shines and that we feel joyously to be life, the heart is ever gladdened 
by the beauty, the exquisite spontaneity, with which life seeks and 
takes on its forms in an accord perfectly responsive to its needs. It 
seems ever as though the life and the form were absolutely one and in- 
separable, so adequate is the sense of fulfilment. 

Whether it be the sweeping eagle in his flight, or the open apple- 
blossom, the toiling work-horse, the blithe swan, the branching oak, 
the winding stream at its base, the drifting clouds, over all the coursing 
nun, form ever follows function, and this is the law. Where function 
does not change, form does not change. The granite rocks, the ever- 
brooding hills, remain for ages ; the lightning lives, comes into shape, 
and dies, in a twinkling. 

It is the pervading law of all things organic and inorganic, of all 
things physical and metaphysical, of all things human and all things 
superhuman, of all true manifestations of the head, of the heart, of 
the soul, that the life is recognizable in its expression, that form ever 
follows function. This is the law. 

Shall we, then, daily violate this law in our art? Are we so de- 
cadent, so imbecile, so utterly weak of eyesight, that we cannot per- 
ceive this truth so simple, so very simple? Is it indeed a truth so 
transparent that we see through it but do not see it? Is it really, 
then, a very marvellous thing, or is it rather so commonplace, so every- 
day, so near a thing to us, that we cannot perceive that the shape, form, 
outward expression, design, or whatever we may choose, of the tall 
office building should in the very nature of things follow the functions 
of the building, and that where the function does not change, the form 
is not to change ? 

Does not this readily, clearly, and conclusively show that the lower 
one or two stories will take on a special character suited to the special 
needs, that the tiers of typical offices, having the same unchanging 
function, shall continue in the same unchanging form, and that as to 
the attic, specific and conclusive as it is in its very nature, its function 
shall equally be so in force, in significance, in continuity, in conclusive- 
ness of outward expression ? From this results, naturally, spontane- 
ously, unwittingly, a three-part division, — not from any theory, symbol, 
or fancied logic. 

And thus the design of the tall office building takes its place with 
all other architectural types made when architecture, as has happened 
once in many years, was a living art. Witness the Greek temple, the 
Gothic cathedral, the medieval fortress. 

And thus, when native instinct and sensibility shall govern the 



THE EVOLUTION OF THE WEDDING-CAKE. 409 

exercise of our beloved art ; when the known law, the respected law, 
shall be that form ever follows function ; when our architects shall 
cease strutting and prattling handcuffed and vainglorious in the asylum 
of a foreign school ; when it is truly felt, cheerfully accepted, that this 
law opens up the airy sunshine of green fields, and gives to us a free- 
dom that the very beauty and sumptuousness of the outworking of 
the law itself as exhibited in nature will deter any sane, any sensitive 
man from changing into license ; when it becomes evident that we 
are merely speaking a foreign language with a noticeable American 
accent, whereas each and every architect in the land might, under 
the benign influence of this law, express in the simplest, most modest, 
most natural way that which it is in him to say : that he might really 
and would surely develop his own characteristic individuality, and 
that the architectural art with him would certainly become a living 
form of speech, a natural form of utterance, giving surcease to him 
and adding treasures small and great to the growing art of his land ; 
when we know and feel that Nature is our friend, not our implaca- 
ble enemy, — that an afternoon in the country, an hour by the sea, a 
full open view of one single day, through dawn, high noon, and 
twilight, will suggest to us so much that is rhythmical, deep, and eter- 
nal in the vast art of architecture, something so deep, so true, that all 
the narrow formalities, hard-and-fast rules, and strangling bonds of 
the schools cannot stifle it in us, — then it may be proclaimed that we 
are on the high-road to a natural and satisfying art, an architecture 
that will soon become a fine art in the true, the best sense of the word, 
an art that will live because it will be of the people, for the people, 
and by the people. 

Louis H. Sullivan. 



THE EVOLUTION OF THE WEDDING-CAKE. 

WHEN in ancient and imperial Rome a maiden was wedded ac- 
cording to confarreatio, she always carried three ears of wheat 
in her hand, while over her head was broken a simple cake of far and 
mola salsa as a presage of plenty and an ample abundance of the good 
things of life. 

In this primitive custom we see the germ from which grew the 
elaborate plum loaves and daintily beribboned boxes of luscious rich- 
ness that form so conspicuous a feature of our marriage-feasts to-day. 

The bridal wreath of an Early English bride was likewise fashioned 
of bearded (and sometimes gilded) wheaten spikes, while, on her re- 
turn from church, corn and other cereals were showered upon her and 
then carefully gathered up and consumed by the wedding guests. In 
this, also, we recognize a rude ancestor of a modern fashion, that of 
sending a newly married pair off in a small blizzard of hard, snowy 
rice. 

In the course of time, however, the golden grain was ground and 



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-CINCINNATI - 

PN01AHAPOUS rf^N tf0 ~^H 

SOLID THROUGH TRAINS BETWEEN 

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TOLEDO ^DETROIT. 

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To California 

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Sapta Fe Route 

The California Limited 

Is a new, strictly first-class fast train, 
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